On the first day of break, your children are scheduled to go celebrate the holidays with their father, so you are both child-free and using-or-losing your vacation days. You wake and usher the children out of the van to their schools with a cheerful, “See you on Christmas Day! Have fun with your cousins! I love you!”
Then you go home, prepared to shave your leg forest and polish your toenails because the last time you did either of those things, you were still wearing sundresses.
But when you walk in the door, you start to feel funny and think, “I’ve got three hours until the massage. maybe a quick nap?”
For about fifteen minutes. Sprint to the bathroom grabbing a plastic mixing bowl because dual eruptions! You make it to the toilet in time, thank all of the things good and holy. But, it turns out that you are really, really sick. Like, blood-pressure-dropping-precipitously-when-you-vomit sick. That sick.
So sick that you start musing, “Wow! I’m very cold! What the heck? Why is my face so cold?” and your eyes open and focus on the underside of your sink. You are freezing because you have passed out, bare-assed; your face is resting on the very cold ceramic tile of your bathroom. Repeat this four times over the next six hours, but not before you call to reschedule your massage.
Spend that day in bed and the next one, too, because you’re weak and stinky and, for some perverse reason, craving Ramen noodles.
On day three, take a shower and who knew that clean hair could make you feel so human again? Use the day to wrap presents for your children because you love them a bit. Clean the living room because your dad and his wife are coming on Christmas Eve and you are going to a fancy restaurant because none of you wants to cook, but all of you want to eat.
Except that your dad isn’t coming because his elderly mother-in-law is hospitalized for influenza. Send them your love and good wishes for a speedy recovery, then remember that you have no food in the house for Christmas Eve because you were going fancy-fancy. Go to the local grocery store and buy a turkey pot-pie, pre-made rice pudding, and 6 peel-and-eat shrimp. Get in line at the check-out between a neighbor with an overflowing cart and a former co-worker with an overflowing cart. You don’t even have a basket.
Binge watch “Longmire.” Eat your shrimp. Invent a drink and call it a “Candy Cane.” The recipe: vodka, peppermint schnapps, ½ and ½, and a mini-candy cane stolen from the Christmas tree to stir it. Drink it from your elephant mug (the Christmas present you gave yourself) because it reminds you of your grandmother.
Wake up Christmas morning at the crack of dawn because the kids will be coming home! Play Santa. Eat Santa’s cookie, forget to leave crumbs. Eat another cookie to get crumbs for the Santa cookie plate.
After time stretches and noon feels like midnight, greet your happy children. Enjoy the afternoon, thoroughly, enjoy the evening thoroughly, enjoy the night thoroughly until your twins separately climb into bed with you. Sleep the rest of the night on the couch because there is no room in your bed. Be thankful you have healthy, happy children, and beds in which each of them should sleep, even if they refuse to acknowledge this. Repeat the day after Christmas.
Two days after Christmas, spring awake because it is the day to which your massage has been rescheduled! Hallalujah!
Take a shower, shave your everything you can reach. Brush your teeth. Get dressed and realize you’re down to your last pair of clean undies, so you’re wearing your ratty spare pair. Dismiss this thought because you always go fully nude on the massage table and you can just hide those suckers under the cup of your bra.
Get to the massage place, disrobe, and climb on to the table. Use the massage to reflect philosophically on the year – each knot she releases lets go of a piece of flotsam from the year. Wonder why the massage therapist is uncharacteristically stopping everything at your waist.
Discover that you forgot to remove your ratty laundry-day underwear.